Highlighting the Walkout

Started by PrTim15, February 19, 2024, 10:58:51 AM

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RDPreus

The autographs may not exist, but we do have in our possession today the original words of the inerrant Bible.  Textual variants do require us to exercise good judgment in choosing the best manuscript evidence, and this is why seminarians are taught the rudiments of textual criticism.  On that topic there are differences of opinion.  Some of us believe that the Textus Receptus is superior to the contrived text of Nestle Aland.  We are a growing minority in the LCMS.  We can argue about the best Greek texts, but as we do, we can all agree that the variants at issue do not change any teaching of Holy Scripture.  So, I don't think that our not knowing with certainty in every instance which variant is correct militates against the doctrine of biblical inerrancy.  The issue of inerrancy deals with the very basic and easy to understand issue of whether what the Bible records as having happened actually happened.  Did God create Adam and Eve as Moses describes in Genesis?  Was Jonah swallowed up by a great fish?  Did Jesus walk on water?  Did the Red Sea part so that the Israelites could walk over it on dry ground? Did Jesus rise bodily from the grave?  Did Jesus do all of the miracles that the Gospels say he did?  Did an axe float?  Is Genesis 1-11 historical?  Did it actually happen as the text says it happened?  It is dishonest to use the word inerrant to describe the Bible if you don't believe that everything the Bible says happened happened.   

Dan Fienen

Quote from: Brian Stoffregen on February 21, 2024, 01:24:59 AMNo, I don't know what you mean by the word "inerrant," because it doesn't quite match what an English dictionary says the word means. I've been accused a number of times of making words mean whatever I want them to mean. However, I still use meanings that a Lexicon has for those words.

You completely missed the point about the unicorns. Arguing that the autographs are inerrant is like arguing that unicorns existed. Since we have no actual autographs nor remains of unicorns, how can we support that argument?
Actually, I do use the standard dictionary definition of inerrant, I simply apply it to texts that you apparently want to deny existed and do no longer exist in their originals, but about which we have abundant evidence and tools to make a good approximation of their original forms.

Do you deny that the original autographs of the books of the Bible ever existed? Where did all the ancient manuscripts that have come from? Do you deny, for example, that a writer, we will call him Luke for convenience, actually researched and assembled the material and wrote (or dictated) the text that we call today the Gospel of Luke? Or researched and wrote a history of the earliest days of the church into the history that we call Acts? You have written on occasion about how meaningful it is to compare the four Gospels and perceive the differing emphases and strategies of presentation of the various authors. If there was no original work that we now call Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John, how can we talk about the intent of the author in selecting and arranging the materials that he did?

Actually, rather than trying to talk about unicorns, about which none exist now and whose remains we have not found, our discussion is more like talking about dinosaurs. No dinosaurs exist today that we know of. But we have many, many fossils that allow us with a great deal of confidence reconstruct what they were like when they did exist and we can figure out with some confidence what they were like. Since we have no dinosaurs today, do you deny their existence?

If you want to talk in terms of unicorns, a closer analogy to my mind would be talking about the letter documents: Q, J, E, D, P, and the like. They are theorized to have existed, but there is no hard, documentary evidence that they ever existed as separate independently circulating documents. All we have are theoretical dissections of existing documents that, along with speculative assumptions, are used to dismember those existing documents into their hypothetical but nonevidential sources. Go on ahead and prattle on about unicorns, I'll look at the evidence that we have for dinosaurs.
Pr. Daniel Fienen
LCMS

Brian Stoffregen

Quote from: Fletch1 on February 21, 2024, 06:02:57 AM'Cause I gotta' have faith
I gotta have faith
Because I gotta have faith, faith, faith
I got to have faith, faith, faith

... George Michael
Lyrics corrected:

'Cause God gives me faith,
God gives me faith
God gives me faith, faith, faith.
God gives me faith, faith faith.
I flunked retirement. Serving as a part-time interim in Ferndale, WA.

Dan Fienen

#63
Quote from: John Mundinger on February 21, 2024, 07:28:46 AM
Quote from: Dan Fienen on February 20, 2024, 05:02:14 PMThis whole discussion has become little more than an exercise of willfully talking past each other and refusing to directly address the concerns of each other.

I agree.  I'd also suggest that the consistent use of "buzz words", like inerrancy, Gospel-reductionism, etc. contribute to the problem.  Such words might mean something to those who regularly use them, but they are code-words for whole paragraphs, the content of which doesn't get added to the conversation.
Every profession and area of interest has a body of technical language, or jargon if you will, that is within the profession commonly understood with reasonable precision. Its use saves much time and effort by allowing single words to be used in place of the repetitive use of the whole paragraphs that those words represent. Problems arise when this technical language is used with non-specialists, or non-standard meanings (even though that meaning may be in common, non-specialist use) are inserted into the conversation without specifying the use.

Quote
Quote from: Dan Fienen on February 20, 2024, 11:38:56 PMApparently you know exactly what we should mean when we use the term inerrant and since what we say doesn't match what you know we must mean we simply don't know what we're talking about.

I don't know exactly what people mean when they use the term, inerrant.  And, to be honest, it gets even more confusing when folks acknowledge the copy errors to which Pr. Stoffregen refers but still suggest that he thinks the autographs are "inerrant" (whatever that term is supposed to mean).
I think that I have been pretty explicit in describing how I use the term inerrant and why I apply that term to what I do. If you disagree with me, that is actually to be expected. But I have been as clear as I can about what I actually mean.
Quote
Quote from: Dan Fienen on February 20, 2024, 05:02:14 PMIn contrast, for the Bible we have thousands of really old copies and partial copies of the Bible to compare. There is plenty of material for the textual critics to work with. While we do not have the autographs, we can come quite close to reconstructing them.

I generally agree.  But, I do not understand how it is possible to reconstruct the autographs without employing all of the tools in the historical-critical tool bag.
How much do you know about textual criticism? As to applying the rest of the HC tools, in my experience much of those are intent not in reconstructing the original but in dismembering the original into the putative sources and redaction history. The reliability of the methods and assumptions of the various Criticisms is another discussion.
Pr. Daniel Fienen
LCMS

Brian Stoffregen

Quote from: Dan Fienen on February 21, 2024, 10:32:45 AMActually, I do use the standard dictionary definition of inerrant, I simply apply it to texts that you apparently want to deny existed and do no longer exist in their originals, but about which we have abundant evidence and tools to make a good approximation of their original forms.

The existence of texts and saying that they are incapable of being wrong are two different things.

QuoteDo you deny that the original autographs of the books of the Bible ever existed? Where did all the ancient manuscripts that have come from? Do you deny, for example, that a writer, we will call him Luke for convenience, actually researched and assembled the material and wrote (or dictated) the text that we call today the Gospel of Luke? Or researched and wrote a history of the earliest days of the church into the history that we call Acts? You have written on occasion about how meaningful it is to compare the four Gospels and perceive the differing emphases and strategies of presentation of the various authors. If there was no original work that we now call Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John, how can we talk about the intent of the author in selecting and arranging the materials that he did?

Of course autographs existed - but perhaps not in quite the same way we have. There are arguments, for example, that 2 Corinthians is the combination of three letters that were originally separate. It seems likely to me (and many other scholars,) that the original Mark did not include 16:9-20. I approach the ending of Mark assuming that he intended the non-ending ending at 16:8.

QuoteActually, rather than trying to talk about unicorns, about which none exist now and whose remains we have not found, our discussion is more like talking about dinosaurs. No dinosaurs exist today that we know of. But we have many, many fossils that allow us with a great deal of confidence reconstruct what they were like when they did exist and we can figure out with some confidence what they were like. Since we have no dinosaurs today, do you deny their existence?

I do not deny their existence, but an LCMS minister in a town I served did. He believed that the fossils that we have were created by God to confuse unbelievers.

QuoteIf you want to talk in terms of unicorns, a closer analogy to my mind would be talking about the letter documents: Q, J, E, D, P, and the like. They are theorized to have existed, but there is no hard, documentary evidence that they ever existed as separate independently circulating documents. All we have are theoretical dissections of existing documents that, along with speculative assumptions, are used to dismember those existing documents into their hypothetical but nonevidential sources. Go on ahead and prattle on about unicorns, I'll look at the evidence that we have for dinosaurs.

It's a bit like finding dinosaur bones and then theorizing how they might go together based on what knowledge we have about animal skeletons. The evidence for different sources is found in our documents. For example, the use of YHWH vs. God. Two separate stories of the flood can be gleaned from what's in the text, e.g., one with two of each animal and the other with seven pairs of the clean animals. Such theories are based on the evidence that we have in the scriptures.

The four source theory for the synoptics comes from studying the synoptics. The attach chart indicates a way of viewing what is in these three books and their relationship to each other. Theorizing four source makes the most sense to me among the different theories about how these gospels are related to each other. The finding of the Gospel of Thomas strengthened the argument about the existence of Q that contained sayings of Jesus that was used by Matthew and Luke, but unknown to Mark.
I flunked retirement. Serving as a part-time interim in Ferndale, WA.

Dan Fienen

#65
Quote from: Brian Stoffregen on February 21, 2024, 11:13:44 AM
Quote from: Dan Fienen on February 21, 2024, 10:32:45 AMActually, I do use the standard dictionary definition of inerrant, I simply apply it to texts that you apparently want to deny existed and do no longer exist in their originals, but about which we have abundant evidence and tools to make a good approximation of their original forms.

The existence of texts and saying that they are incapable of being wrong are two different things.
They are two different things. But why is it incorrect usage to assert inerrancy to the texts that once existed but no longer do?
Quote
QuoteDo you deny that the original autographs of the books of the Bible ever existed? Where did all the ancient manuscripts that have come from? Do you deny, for example, that a writer, we will call him Luke for convenience, actually researched and assembled the material and wrote (or dictated) the text that we call today the Gospel of Luke? Or researched and wrote a history of the earliest days of the church into the history that we call Acts? You have written on occasion about how meaningful it is to compare the four Gospels and perceive the differing emphases and strategies of presentation of the various authors. If there was no original work that we now call Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John, how can we talk about the intent of the author in selecting and arranging the materials that he did?

Of course autographs existed - but perhaps not in quite the same way we have. There are arguments, for example, that 2 Corinthians is the combination of three letters that were originally separate. It seems likely to me (and many other scholars,) that the original Mark did not include 16:9-20. I approach the ending of Mark assuming that he intended the non-ending ending at 16:8.
Textual criticism takes that manuscripts that we have, compares and contrasts them and seeks to reconstruct the original from which the manuscripts that we have were copied (or are copies of copies of . . . back to the originals.

Speculations about 2 Corinthians having been originally cobbled together from three other letters is speculation, but in the absence of any manuscript evidence of those original source letters, of which we have none, it is not a matter of textual criticism but other speculation. We can debate the plausibility of that reconstruction of source, literary, and redaction criticism, as well as its importance and utility, but that is another discussion. There is another form of HC criticism, canon criticism that speaks to this.

As to the ending of Mark, that is a textual critical issue since we have manuscripts that lack all or part of chapter 16:9-20 or have various endings after verse 8. There we can discuss the text since we have evidence beyond speculation.
Quote
QuoteActually, rather than trying to talk about unicorns, about which none exist now and whose remains we have not found, our discussion is more like talking about dinosaurs. No dinosaurs exist today that we know of. But we have many, many fossils that allow us with a great deal of confidence reconstruct what they were like when they did exist and we can figure out with some confidence what they were like. Since we have no dinosaurs today, do you deny their existence?

I do not deny their existence, but an LCMS minister in a town I served did. He believed that the fossils that we have were created by God to confuse unbelievers.
Irrelevant to our discussion.
Quote
QuoteIf you want to talk in terms of unicorns, a closer analogy to my mind would be talking about the letter documents: Q, J, E, D, P, and the like. They are theorized to have existed, but there is no hard, documentary evidence that they ever existed as separate independently circulating documents. All we have are theoretical dissections of existing documents that, along with speculative assumptions, are used to dismember those existing documents into their hypothetical but nonevidential sources. Go on ahead and prattle on about unicorns, I'll look at the evidence that we have for dinosaurs.

It's a bit like finding dinosaur bones and then theorizing how they might go together based on what knowledge we have about animal skeletons. The evidence for different sources is found in our documents. For example, the use of YHWH vs. God. Two separate stories of the flood can be gleaned from what's in the text, e.g., one with two of each animal and the other with seven pairs of the clean animals. Such theories are based on the evidence that we have in the scriptures.

The four source theory for the synoptics comes from studying the synoptics. The attach chart indicates a way of viewing what is in these three books and their relationship to each other. Theorizing four source makes the most sense to me among the different theories about how these gospels are related to each other. The finding of the Gospel of Thomas strengthened the argument about the existence of Q that contained sayings of Jesus that was used by Matthew and Luke, but unknown to Mark.

You are the one who accused me of talking about unicorns when I wrote of the autographs of the Biblical books.

It is apparent that the authors of the Biblical books used sources in their writing. Luke specifically mentions the research he conducted and never claims to have actually seen Jesus or witnessed anything about which he wrote. The OT historical books mention royal archives in their historical accounts. Moses would have had to drawn upon some source to recount history from before his birth. Teasing out those sources can be much fun, like doing double-crostic crossword puzzles, and a rich source for the writing of scholarly papers and journal articles (publish or perish), but it is largely speculative and based on assumptions that may be dubious. The "assured results of scholarly research" from one decade can quickly become last year's fad. Where I particularly dispute this cottage industry is when these speculations are expected to be accepted as fact, and especially when these speculative facts are taken to prove the errancy of Scripture and contradict the teachings of Scripture.

As I recall, you at one time trotted out and suggested that we take to heart the idea that Paul did not object to people who taught contrary to what he taught on the basis of the "fact" that it was speculated that the offering that Paul was taking up for the poor brethren in Jerusalem was actually intended for the support of the heretical sect of the Ebionites ("the poor ones") for whose existence as a group we have no evidence until the second century. But because of the similarity in the name, perhaps they existed in Paul's time and he wanted to support them in their Jewish Christian beliefs. This is the sort of speculation that can be destructive of sound theology but passes as "Scholarship" that I object to.

There has also been much speculation in critical circles that primary Biblical teachings, such a creation, the birth, miracles, and resurrection of Jesus are really just recycled and reworked mythological stories from the various peoples around the Mediterranean Sea. That God's people were highly influenced by the religious ideas around them and cobbled together Judaism and later Christianity out of those surrounding myths, legends, and stories. The "assured results of scholarly research" coming out of higher criticism have been a fertile ground for these assertions. Another reason that I and many like me treat HC with great caution.

N. T. Wright in his massive volume The Resurrection of the Son of God treats many of these assertions that the Christian teaching about the resurrection of Jesus simply reworked existing myths in great detail. Panbabylonism, accepted by many as the definitive account of the origins of much of Judaism and popular in the late 19th, early 20th centuries has become largely passé, but does still resurface from time to time. The Religionsgeschichtliche Schule from that time also enjoyed popularity and intellectual snobbery bragging rights, but again has fallen greatly in acceptance. Fad come and fads go in theology as much as in fashion and in culture.

Did Q exist and was used by Matthew and Luke in writing their Gospels? Perhaps, or perhaps what has been designated as Q was simply the number of stories that were told and retold among the community. Luke researched them, and possibly Matthew heard them first hand. At one time it was fashionable to cast doubt on the accuracy and historicity of the Gospels on the basis of the "fact" that the Gospels as we have them weren't written down until the second or third centuries. The stories were handed down, told and retold for a couple of generations before being compiled so they would have grown and changed. Hence the schism between the Jesus of history and the Jesus of faith. It allowed the origins of Christian to be rewritten quite differently from how the Gospels tell it, those much later and much altered from the facts accounts. More legend than history.

That speculation has had to be drastically revised as older and older manuscripts have been discovered, although the basic idea, that we cannot trust the Gospels to tell us much actual facts about Jesus has been sustained. Faith has often been detached from fact and left to hang in the air as whatever is meaningful to the believer. We are to have faith in faith. Whatever is meaningful for the believer, counteracts our angst, and helps us live authentic lives. After all, Jesus is the eschatological manifestation of the ground of our being, the kerygma in which we found the ultimate meaning of our interpersonal relationship.
Pr. Daniel Fienen
LCMS

Rev. Edward Engelbrecht

Quote from: RDPreus on February 21, 2024, 10:13:16 AMThe autographs may not exist, but we do have in our possession today the original words of the inerrant Bible.  Textual variants do require us to exercise good judgment in choosing the best manuscript evidence, and this is why seminarians are taught the rudiments of textual criticism.  On that topic there are differences of opinion.  Some of us believe that the Textus Receptus is superior to the contrived text of Nestle Aland.  We are a growing minority in the LCMS.  We can argue about the best Greek texts, but as we do, we can all agree that the variants at issue do not change any teaching of Holy Scripture.  So, I don't think that our not knowing with certainty in every instance which variant is correct militates against the doctrine of biblical inerrancy.  The issue of inerrancy deals with the very basic and easy to understand issue of whether what the Bible records as having happened actually happened.  Did God create Adam and Eve as Moses describes in Genesis?  Was Jonah swallowed up by a great fish?  Did Jesus walk on water?  Did the Red Sea part so that the Israelites could walk over it on dry ground? Did Jesus rise bodily from the grave?  Did Jesus do all of the miracles that the Gospels say he did?  Did an axe float?  Is Genesis 1-11 historical?  Did it actually happen as the text says it happened?  It is dishonest to use the word inerrant to describe the Bible if you don't believe that everything the Bible says happened happened.   

To revisit the car analogy, scratches and dents are easy to recognize. The same is true with most text-critical issues. They are things like spelling variants and the like, most of which hardly affect meaning.

There are some longer passages/variants. But I suppose the process would be like comparing the same model vehicle to see whether it came out with a spoiler or running boards or whether those were added later. Even so, in most cases the longer variants hardly affect meaning any more than running boards affect the operation of a vehicle.

Now, if you introduce historical critical method, you're not so much looking at the text as trying to read behind it. It  is almost entirely speculation. It's an intellectual junkyard.

Brian Stoffregen

Quote from: Dan Fienen on February 21, 2024, 12:06:53 PMThey are two different things. But why is it incorrect usage to assert inerrancy to the texts that once existed but no longer do?

I have never indicated that they never existed. They may well be inerrant, but I find that meaningless since we don't have any of them.

QuoteTextual criticism takes that manuscripts that we have, compares and contrasts them and seeks to reconstruct the original from which the manuscripts that we have were copied (or are copies of copies of . . . back to the originals.

Speculations about 2 Corinthians having been originally cobbled together from three other letters is speculation, but in the absence of any manuscript evidence of those original source letters, of which we have none, it is not a matter of textual criticism but other speculation. We can debate the plausibility of that reconstruction of source, literary, and redaction criticism, as well as its importance and utility, but that is another discussion. There is another form of HC criticism, canon criticism that speaks to this.

Literary and Rhetorical criticism also speaks to this.

QuoteYou are the one who accused me of talking about unicorns when I wrote of the autographs of the Biblical books.

I didn't accuse you of anything. I used unicorns as examples. One: of something people talk about existing without any proof. Two: since they are mentioned in the KJV, is that proof they existed or an indication of an error in the Bible?

QuoteIt is apparent that the authors of the Biblical books used sources in their writing. Luke specifically mentions the research he conducted and never claims to have actually seen Jesus or witnessed anything about which he wrote. The OT historical books mention royal archives in their historical accounts. Moses would have had to drawn upon some source to recount history from before his birth. Teasing out those sources can be much fun, like doing double-crostic crossword puzzles, and a rich source for the writing of scholarly papers and journal articles (publish or perish), but it is largely speculative and based on assumptions that may be dubious. The "assured results of scholarly research" from one decade can quickly become last year's fad. Where I particularly dispute this cottage industry is when these speculations are expected to be accepted as fact, and especially when these speculative facts are taken to prove the errancy of Scripture and contradict the teachings of Scripture.


I study the synoptics as if the four source theory was a fact. That means I consider Mark to have been written first and used as a source by Matthew and Luke. I explore the ways Matthew and Luke have modified Mark to fit their purposes and/or their audience. I also look at what the later writers omitted from Mark. This does not change the belief that they are all the inspired Word of God for us - that God may be behind the changes they made from their sources.

QuoteAs I recall, you at one time trotted out the idea that Paul did not object to people who taught contrary to what he taught on the basis of the "fact" that it was speculated that the offering that Paul was taking up for the poor brethren in Jerusalem was actually intended for the support of the heretical sect of the Ebionites ("the poor ones") for whose existence as a group we have no evidence until the second century. But because of the similarity in the name, perhaps they existed in Paul's time and he wanted to support them in their Jewish Christian beliefs. This is the sort of speculation that can be destructive of sound theology but passes as "Scholarship" that I object to.

Yes, I had read and shared the theory that Ebionites were the poor ones Paul was seeking to support in Jerusalem. It's a remote possibility.

QuoteDid Q exist and was used by Matthew and Luke in writing their Gospels? Perhaps, or perhaps what has been designated as Q was simply the number of stories that were told and retold among the community. Luke researched them, and possibly Matthew heard them first hand. At one time it was fashionable to cast doubt on the accuracy and historicity of the Gospels on the basis of the "fact" that the Gospels as we have them weren't written down until the second or third centuries. The stories were handed down, told and retold for a couple of generations before being compiled so they would have grown and changed. Hence the schism between the Jesus of history and the Jesus of faith. It allowed the origins of Christian to be rewritten quite differently from how the Gospels tell it, those much later and much altered from the facts accounts. More legend than history.

I have never heard it as even a theory that the gospels were written that late in history.

You seem to agree that the common events in Matthew and Luke came from a common source - whether it was a written Q or oral tradition that they both heard matters little to me. A common source seems to be a logical way of explaining what is common in those two gospels. Again, for me, that does nothing to undermine the fact that they are the inspired Word of God that God has given us.

QuoteThat speculation has had to be drastically revised as older and older manuscripts have been discovered, although the basic idea, that we cannot trust the Gospels to tell us much actual facts about Jesus has been sustained. Faith has often been detached from fact and left to hang in the air as whatever is meaningful to the believer. We are to have faith in faith. Whatever is meaningful for the believer, counteracts our angst, and helps us live authentic lives. After all, Jesus is the eschatological manifestation of the ground of our being, the kerygma in which we found the ultimate meaning of our interpersonal relationship.

One simple example of why we can't get back to Jesus is that nearly all the accounts of the words he spoke have been translated from Aramaic into Greek. (The few occurances of Aramaic words, e.g., his cry from the cross, indicate that he certainly spoke Aramaic.) Any guesses about the original words that came out of his mouth are always guesses. This isn't to say that the Greek translations we read are inaccurate about the message Jesus proclaimed; but that they are one step away from his actual words. While there are books and articles that argue that Jesus spoke Greek, I haven't been persuaded by them.

Regardless, of how the gospels came to be written, and how much freedom each writer had in composing his portrait of Jesus, doesn't really concern me. These are the words that God has given us. We read and study them as the inspired Word of God.[/quote]
[/quote]
I flunked retirement. Serving as a part-time interim in Ferndale, WA.

Dan Fienen

#68
Quote from: Brian Stoffregen on February 21, 2024, 02:35:03 PM
Quote from: Dan Fienen on February 21, 2024, 12:06:53 PMThey are two different things. But why is it incorrect usage to assert inerrancy to the texts that once existed but no longer do?

I have never indicated that they never existed. They may well be inerrant, but I find that meaningless since we don't have any of them.
I find it meaningful and have tried to explain why. This will remain another of the many, many things we disagree about.
Quote
QuoteYou are the one who accused me of talking about unicorns when I wrote of the autographs of the Biblical books.

I didn't accuse you of anything. I used unicorns as examples. One: of something people talk about existing without any proof. Two: since they are mentioned in the KJV, is that proof they existed or an indication of an error in the Bible?
Error in the Bible, no. Error in the KJV translation, yes. Especially when it comes to the names of flora and fauna, we just cannot in some cases be sure what the ancient Hebrew referred to.
QuoteI study the synoptics as if the four source theory was a fact. That means I consider Mark to have been written first and used as a source by Matthew and Luke. I explore the ways Matthew and Luke have modified Mark to fit their purposes and/or their audience. I also look at what the later writers omitted from Mark. This does not change the belief that they are all the inspired Word of God for us - that God may be behind the changes they made from their sources.
As a working assumption, I suppose it is not bad. I certainly would not count it as more inerrant than the Bible. I am inclined to think that the reality may have been even more complex than that. I also do not discount, as many do, that some of the Gospel authors (especially Matthew and John, maybe at least in part Mark) were also eyewitnesses and are operating also from their own memory, supplemented by other sources.
QuoteYes, I had read and shared the theory that Ebionites were the poor ones Paul was seeking to support in Jerusalem. It's a remote possibility.
But especially as a remote possibility, I would not use that speculation as a reason to suppose that Paul was not interested in people having correct doctrine and so neither should that be a concern of ours.

Pr. Daniel Fienen
LCMS

John Mundinger

Quote from: RDPreus on February 21, 2024, 09:46:35 AM"Not as you define inerrancy," you write.  But you know perfectly well that my definition of inerrancy is what the word actually means, and when the term is used to describe a view of the Scriptures that says there are errors and contradictions in the Bible it is being used dishonestly.  Luther wrote, "The Scriptures have never erred." 

Actually, I don't because the term has been used arbitrarily in application to various parts of Scripture.  For example, I think Genesis 1 - 2 is better understood and a more profound statement of creation if it is read as metaphor rather than as literal, scientific fact.  I suspect that most theologians who are not intimidated by historical criticism would agree.  Yet, I suspect that you would reject those chapters as metaphor on the basis of inerrancy.  Yet, I suspect that you read Psalm 23 as metaphor.

I agree with Luther that Scripture never erred.  But, I think Luther would agree with me that the same cannot be said of practitioners of hermeneutics.

Quote from: RDPreus on February 21, 2024, 09:46:35 AMWe Lutherans did not look to Harold Lindsell to teach us about the authority of Scripture.  Our own theological tradition was rich in providing proof for this doctrine.  It is true that many LCMS Lutherans worked with inerrantists from other denominations to produce a common statement on inerrancy at a meeting in Chicago in the Fall of 1978.  It was the kind of ecumenical endeavor in which we could participate without violating the biblical prohibition of unionism. 

Yet, I was introduced to Harold Lindsell in a Sunday morning Bible class in an LCMS congregation.


Quote from: RDPreus on February 21, 2024, 09:46:35 AMWe Lutherans did not look to Harold Lindsell to teach us about the authority of Scripture.  Our own theological tradition was rich in providing proof for this doctrine. 

Quote from: RDPreus on February 21, 2024, 09:46:35 AMIt is true that many LCMS Lutherans worked with inerrantists from other denominations to produce a common statement on inerrancy at a meeting in Chicago in the Fall of 1978.  It was the kind of ecumenical endeavor in which we could participate without violating the biblical prohibition of unionism. 

It's unfortunate that so many LCMS Lutherans spurn comparable ecumenical opportunities with other Lutherans.
Lifelong Evangelical Lutheran layman

Whoever, then, thinks that he understands the Holy Scriptures, or any part of them, but puts such an interpretation upon them as does not tend to build up this twofold love of God and our neighbour, does not yet understand them as he ought.  St. Augustine

RDPreus

Quote from: John Mundinger on February 21, 2024, 05:33:50 PM
Quote from: RDPreus on February 21, 2024, 09:46:35 AM"Not as you define inerrancy," you write.  But you know perfectly well that my definition of inerrancy is what the word actually means, and when the term is used to describe a view of the Scriptures that says there are errors and contradictions in the Bible it is being used dishonestly.  Luther wrote, "The Scriptures have never erred." 

Actually, I don't because the term has been used arbitrarily in application to various parts of Scripture.  For example, I think Genesis 1 - 2 is better understood and a more profound statement of creation if it is read as metaphor rather than as literal, scientific fact.  I suspect that most theologians who are not intimidated by historical criticism would agree.  Yet, I suspect that you would reject those chapters as metaphor on the basis of inerrancy.  Yet, I suspect that you read Psalm 23 as metaphor.

I agree with Luther that Scripture never erred.  But, I think Luther would agree with me that the same cannot be said of practitioners of hermeneutics.

Quote from: RDPreus on February 21, 2024, 09:46:35 AMWe Lutherans did not look to Harold Lindsell to teach us about the authority of Scripture.  Our own theological tradition was rich in providing proof for this doctrine.  It is true that many LCMS Lutherans worked with inerrantists from other denominations to produce a common statement on inerrancy at a meeting in Chicago in the Fall of 1978.  It was the kind of ecumenical endeavor in which we could participate without violating the biblical prohibition of unionism. 

Yet, I was introduced to Harold Lindsell in a Sunday morning Bible class in an LCMS congregation.


Quote from: RDPreus on February 21, 2024, 09:46:35 AMWe Lutherans did not look to Harold Lindsell to teach us about the authority of Scripture.  Our own theological tradition was rich in providing proof for this doctrine. 

Quote from: RDPreus on February 21, 2024, 09:46:35 AMIt is true that many LCMS Lutherans worked with inerrantists from other denominations to produce a common statement on inerrancy at a meeting in Chicago in the Fall of 1978.  It was the kind of ecumenical endeavor in which we could participate without violating the biblical prohibition of unionism. 

It's unfortunate that so many LCMS Lutherans spurn comparable ecumenical opportunities with other Lutherans.

Psalm 23 is written in figurative language from the beginning to the end.  Genesis 1-2 is written as historical prose.  The only reason to doubt the historicity of Genesis 1-2 is to bring the Bible into conformity with evolutionary theories that disallow its historicity.  As far as "ecumenical opportunities" with other Lutherans is concerned, if you are talking about people who deny that what the Bible says happened happened, ordain women and practicing homosexuals as pastors in direct defiance of the clear Scriptures, and practice altar and pulpit fellowship with those who deny that the bread and wine of the Lord's Supper are the body and blood of Jesus that the ungodly as well as the godly receive orally when they eat and drink, I see little point in "ecumenical" discussion with them.  Our difference on Genesis 1-2 is not just a matter of interpretation, unless it is a valid interpretation to say that what the text says happened did not happen.  I don't mean to be rude when I say that I do not regard the ELCA as a Lutheran church body. Most LCMS pastors I know agree.   
  

Dan Fienen

Quote from: John Mundinger on February 21, 2024, 05:33:50 PM
Quote from: RDPreus on February 21, 2024, 09:46:35 AM"Not as you define inerrancy," you write.  But you know perfectly well that my definition of inerrancy is what the word actually means, and when the term is used to describe a view of the Scriptures that says there are errors and contradictions in the Bible it is being used dishonestly.  Luther wrote, "The Scriptures have never erred." 

Actually, I don't because the term has been used arbitrarily in application to various parts of Scripture.  For example, I think Genesis 1 - 2 is better understood and a more profound statement of creation if it is read as metaphor rather than as literal, scientific fact.  I suspect that most theologians who are not intimidated by historical criticism would agree.  Yet, I suspect that you would reject those chapters as metaphor on the basis of inerrancy.  Yet, I suspect that you read Psalm 23 as metaphor.

I agree with Luther that Scripture never erred.  But, I think Luther would agree with me that the same cannot be said of practitioners of hermeneutics.

Quote from: RDPreus on February 21, 2024, 09:46:35 AMWe Lutherans did not look to Harold Lindsell to teach us about the authority of Scripture.  Our own theological tradition was rich in providing proof for this doctrine.  It is true that many LCMS Lutherans worked with inerrantists from other denominations to produce a common statement on inerrancy at a meeting in Chicago in the Fall of 1978.  It was the kind of ecumenical endeavor in which we could participate without violating the biblical prohibition of unionism. 

Yet, I was introduced to Harold Lindsell in a Sunday morning Bible class in an LCMS congregation.


Quote from: RDPreus on February 21, 2024, 09:46:35 AMWe Lutherans did not look to Harold Lindsell to teach us about the authority of Scripture.  Our own theological tradition was rich in providing proof for this doctrine. 

Quote from: RDPreus on February 21, 2024, 09:46:35 AMIt is true that many LCMS Lutherans worked with inerrantists from other denominations to produce a common statement on inerrancy at a meeting in Chicago in the Fall of 1978.  It was the kind of ecumenical endeavor in which we could participate without violating the biblical prohibition of unionism. 

It's unfortunate that so many LCMS Lutherans spurn comparable ecumenical opportunities with other Lutherans.
John, so, you were introduced to Linsell in an LCMS Sunday morning Bible class. From your particular experience you know definitely that the whole of the LCMS derived our understanding of Scripture from him. Really? You can make such a definitive generalized judgment of us on the basis of one experience in one congregation.
Pr. Daniel Fienen
LCMS

Mbecker

#72
I was eleven and living more than 2,000 miles away when the moratorium and exile took place at Concordia Sem. My parish pastor at the time, L. Dean Hempelmann, generally supported those who were pushed away, as did my Uncle Bob (who was a classmate of John T's and others among the faculty majority). Uncle Bob helped with ELIM in the Southern District. At least two of our vicars were Seminex students. In the mid-70s my home congregation in Salem, Ore., called one of them to be its associate pastor. Another pastor was Fred Niedner Sr., who had been the Neb DP, and was among those few DPs who were willing to place Seminex grads in their districts. After the Anaheim convention, he left Neb for the greener pastures of Ore.

While I almost went to Christ Sem, the pull of friends to 801 was stronger. By the time I matriculated there, Dean H. was on the faculty. His shepherding helped me through that rather perplexing and often boring period. (The sem library was a great refuge.) N. Nagel and John J. were also quite helpful.

One of the "new faculty," Robert Hoerber, who was my academic adviser, freely and publicly acknowledged that "errors" are in the Scriptures. Herman O. once published a letter from Hoerber that defended that same thesis. Hoerber also rightly noted that all modern interpreters of the Scriptures use "the historical-critical method," under one set of presuppositions or another, to the extent that such interpreters recognize the historical and cultural distance between our world(s) and the world(s) of the biblical texts (hence "historical"), use their brains to interpret the texts (hence "critical"), and are methodical in their exegesis of the texts (hence "method"). Only later did I learn that the LCMS in convention, in 1967, officially approved the use of the historical-critical method (see 1967 Res. 2-02; see also 1969 Res. 2-04). If the tools for biblical study that are generally housed under the embrella term "historical-critical method" are so bad and inherently prone to lead into false doctrine, then why did the Synod commend that method and those tools in 1967 and 1969? Why were those tools regularly taught at both seminaries after the 1940s? Why are they still taught at 801 today?

By the mid-1960s, the LCMS was schizoid, operating with a divided mind. But the schizophrenia had been developing for several decades prior to that turbulent period. In a Lutheran Quarterly essay I have traced the origin of the dis-ease at least back to the mid-1920s, right around the time my grandfather (who studied under Pieper) graduated from Concordia.

When rather large numbers of sem graduates started to engage modern thought, as they began to do after the 1920s in non-LCMS graduate schools and professional settings (as did my grandfather when he studied modern psychiatry alongside theology, when he served at the Oregon State Hospital), it was only a matter of time before the Synod's schools would be populated with profs and teachers who had learned modern scholarly methods of research and were teaching them to their students. Horace Hummel was also my teacher at 801. He, along with Scharlemann, had introduced modern historical-critical methods of biblical study to sem students in the early 1950s. He was still using those same methods when I was his student in the mid-80s.

I'm grateful that I was able to study under Bob Bertram, when I lived in LSTC housing as a grad student at the U. of Chicago Div. School in the late 80s. At that time, I also had some contact with a few other Seminex faculty, mainly through "Crossings," where "Seminex theology," if there really is such a thing, continues to have an influence today. (When I was going through my own synodical "troubles," John Tietjen reached out to me, and we had a few very helpful telephone conversations.) Most of Bertram's library books--the ones without his handwritten marginalia--are now in my own library, as are a great many books from Ed Schroeder's library (including his tattered, marked-up Concordia [Tappert version]). Although I never attended Seminex, I do consider myself one of its living letters.

Here's the point I want to make: No false doctrine was ever demonstrated to have been taught at Concordia Seminary. In January 1973 the seminary's Board of Control (!) voted to commend every member of the seminary faculty, to correct no one. Please re-read that sentence.

George Loose, who had served as chairman of that BOC, made it clear to me, when I spoke with him face-to-face in the late 1990s, that he was convinced no one on the sem faculty was ever guilty of advocating false doctrine. That was also Ralph Bohlmann's position, at least when I spoke with him about these matters at length one evening in the early 2000s. More importantly, that was the majority view on the BOC in 1973. No individual was ever linked by name to any false doctrine in any convention resolution that condemned the seminary faculty. Please re-read that sentence.

I've never been able to find any false doctrine in the published writings of Piepkorn, Bertram, Caemmerer, F. Danker, B. Danker, Kalin, Klein, Krentz (whose book on the historical-critical method was my introduction to modern tools of biblical study, alongside the first ed. of Danker's book Multipurpose Tools for Bible Study), Volz, Weyermann, et al.

In 1947, when the LCMS celebrated its centennial, part of the thank offering gathered that year was set aside as a fund for historical-critical biblical research. With Scharlemann as president of the Lutheran Academy of Scholarship, and with the approval of President Behnken, the LCMS administered that fund to publish an English edition of a principal resource used in historical-critical scholarship, Bauer's Woerterbuch, now in its third English edn., edited by F. Danker.

In the second edition of my book on fundamental theology (published last week), in the chapters on theological hermeneutics, I try to show why historicism is a position that ought to be rejected in biblical study. Such historicism results when one uses Troeltsch's three principles of historical criticism ideologically and rigidly rather than heuristically. Such historicism conflicts with the gospel that bears witness to God's mighty actions in history. But the use of historical-critical tools for biblical research is unavoidable. Where the rubber meets the road is all about one's ideological presuppositions and theological convictions.

I do think that some who reject "Seminex" and its "theology," whatever that is, don't really know what they're rejecting. It may be the case that their rejection is more a matter of "pro-jection," of foisting onto that faculty majority a boogeyman of their own making. I think if more of my fellow 801 students could have sat through even one seminar of Bertram's (e.g., his grad seminar on Luther's De servo arbitrio), and spent time talking with him one-on-one (as I did for countless hours over several years), I think they might have come away with a different perspective about what transpired in 1974. I will leave it to others to judge the theologies and personalities, the mindsets and demeanors, of those who opposed "the faculty majority." (I did spend some time around at least three of those detractors, having once been their student, and a fourth I got to know much later over the course of three separate synodical conventions when I was the sec. of the NW Dist. Talk about "night and day." I'll just leave it at that.)

What happened in 1973-1975 in the LCMS was a tragedy. It didn't have to happen the way that it did. What did happen was as much the result of personality clashes as it was about fears and anxieties and the cultural Zeitgeist (think Nixon on the one side and Vietnam War protesters on the other). From what I can tell, theological differences (i.e., matters of theological emphasis but not really of doctrinal error) played only a minor role in the whole thing.

Matt Becker

John_Hannah

Quote from: Mbecker on February 21, 2024, 06:37:35 PMI was eleven and living more than 2,000 miles away when the moratorium and exile took place at Concordia Sem. My parish pastor at the time, L. Dean Hempelmann, generally supported those who were pushed away, as did my Uncle Bob (who was a classmate of John T's and others among the faculty majority). Uncle Bob helped with ELIM in the Southern District. At least two of our vicars were Seminex students. In the mid-70s my home congregation in Salem, Ore., called one of them to be its associate pastor. Another pastor was Fred Niedner Sr., who had been the Neb DP, and was among those few DPs who were willing to place Seminex grads in their districts. After the Anaheim convention, he left Neb for the greener pastures of Ore.

While I almost went to Christ Sem, the pull of friends to 801 was stronger. By the time I matriculated there, Dean H. was on the faculty. His shepherding helped me through that rather perplexing and often boring period. (The sem library was a great refuge.) N. Nagel and John J. were also quite helpful.

One of the "new faculty," Robert Hoerber, who was my academic adviser, freely and publicly acknowledged that "errors" are in the Scriptures. Herman O. once published a letter from Hoerber that defended that same thesis. Hoerber also rightly noted that all modern interpreters of the Scriptures use "the historical-critical method," under one set of presuppositions or another, to the extent that such interpreters recognize the historical and cultural distance between our world(s) and the world(s) of the biblical texts (hence "historical"), use their brains to interpret the texts (hence "critical"), and are methodical in their exegesis of the texts (hence "method"). Only later did I learn that the LCMS in convention, in 1967, officially approved the use of the historical-critical method (see 1967 Res. 2-02; see also 1969 Res. 2-04). If the tools for biblical study that are generally housed under the embrella term "historical-critical method" are so bad and inherently prone to lead into false doctrine, then why did the Synod commend that method and those tools in 1967 and 1969? Why were those tools regularly taught at both seminaries after the 1940s? Why are they still taught at 801 today?

By the mid-1960s, the LCMS was schizoid, operating with a divided mind. But the schizophrenia had been developing for several decades prior to that turbulent period. In a Lutheran Quarterly essay I have traced the origin of the dis-ease at least back to the mid-1920s, right around the time my grandfather (who studied under Pieper) graduated from Concordia.

When rather large numbers of sem graduates started to engage modern thought, as they began to do after the 1920s in non-LCMS graduate schools and professional settings (as did my grandfather when he studied modern psychiatry alongside theology, when he served at the Oregon State Hospital), it was only a matter of time before the Synod's schools would be populated with profs and teachers who had learned modern scholarly methods of research and were teaching them to their students. Horace Hummel was also my teacher at 801. He, along with Scharlemann, had introduced modern historical-critical methods of biblical study to sem students in the early 1950s. He was still using those same methods when I was his student in the mid-80s.

I'm grateful that I was able to study under Bob Bertram, when I lived in LSTC housing as a grad student at the U. of Chicago Div. School in the late 80s. At that time, I also had some contact with a few other Seminex faculty, mainly through "Crossings," where "Seminex theology," if there really is such a thing, continues to have an influence today. (When I was going through my own synodical "troubles," John Tietjen reached out to me, and we had a few very helpful telephone conversations.) Most of Bertram's library books--the ones without his handwritten marginalia--are now in my own library, as are a great many books from Ed Schroeder's library (including his tattered, marked-up Concordia [Tappert version]). Although I never attended Seminex, I do consider myself one of its living letters.

Here's the point I want to make: No false doctrine was ever demonstrated to have been taught at Concordia Seminary. In January 1973 the seminary's Board of Control (!) voted to commend every member of the seminary faculty, to correct no one. Please re-read that sentence.

George Loose, who had served as chairman of that BOC, made it clear to me, when I spoke with him face-to-face in the late 1990s, that he was convinced no one on the sem faculty was ever guilty of advocating false doctrine. That was also Ralph Bohlmann's position, at least when I spoke with him about these matters at length one evening in the early 2000s. More importantly, that was the majority view on the BOC in 1973. No individual was ever linked by name to any false doctrine in any convention resolution that condemned the seminary faculty. Please re-read that sentence.

I've never been able to find any false doctrine in the published writings of Piepkorn, Bertram, Caemmerer, F. Danker, B. Danker, Kalin, Klein, Krentz (whose book on the historical-critical method was my introduction to modern tools of biblical study, alongside the first ed. of Danker's book Multipurpose Tools for Bible Study), Volz, Weyermann, et al.

In 1947, when the LCMS celebrated its centennial, part of the thank offering gathered that year was set aside as a fund for historical-critical biblical research. With Scharlemann as president of the Lutheran Academy of Scholarship, and with the approval of President Behnken, the LCMS administered a fund to publish an English edition of a principal resource used in historical-critical scholarship, Bauer's Woerterbuch, now in its third English edn., edited by F. Danker.

In the second edition of my book on fundamental theology (published last week), in the chapters on theological hermeneutics, I try to show why historicism is a position that ought to be rejected in biblical study. Such historicism results when one uses Troeltsch's three principles of historical criticism ideologically and rigidly rather than heuristically. Such historicism conflicts with the gospel that bears witness to God's mighty actions in history. But the use of historical-critical tools for biblical research is unavoidable. Where the rubber meets the road is all about one's ideological presuppositions and theological convictions.

I do think that some who reject "Seminex" and its "theology," whatever that is, don't really know what they're rejecting. It may be the case that their rejection is more a matter of "pro-jection," of foisting onto that faculty majority a boogeyman of their own making. I think if more of my fellow 801 students could have sat through even one seminar of Bertram's (e.g., his grad seminar on Luther's De servo arbitrio), and spent time talking with him one-on-one (as I did for countless hours over several years), I think they might have come away with a different perspective about what transpired in 1974. I will leave it to others to judge the theologies and personalities, the mindsets and demeanors, of those who opposed "the faculty majority." (I did spend some time around at least three of those detractors, having once been their student, and a fourth I got to know much later over the course of three separate synodical conventions when I was the sec. of the NW Dist. Talk about "night and day." I'll just leave it at that.)

What happened in 1973-1975 in the LCMS was a tragedy. It didn't have to happen the way that it did. What did happen was as much the result of personality clashes as it was about fears and anxieties and the cultural Zeitgeist (think Nixon on the one side and Vietnam protesters on the other). From what I can tell, theological differences (i.e., matters of theological emphasis but not really of doctrinal error) played only a minor role in the whole thing.

Matt Becker

Right on, Matt!

I am beginning to believe that the LCMS led the way for American Lutheranism to forfeit confessional theology for American culture, now seriously divided. Those who became the ELCA simply followed, trading culture for confession on the side opposite the LCMS.

Peace, JOHN
Pr. JOHN HANNAH, STS

John Mundinger

Quote from: Dan Fienen on February 21, 2024, 06:25:37 PMJohn, so, you were introduced to Linsell in an LCMS Sunday morning Bible class. From your particular experience you know definitely that the whole of the LCMS derived our understanding of Scripture from him. Really? You can make such a definitive generalized judgment of us on the basis of one experience in one congregation.

It wasn't just one Sunday.  It was several Sundays during which "Battle for the Bible" was assigned reading.

And, please note that I have not made generalized judgement about anyone.  The judgement is about the meaning and use of "inerrant and infallible" as a defining attribute of Scripture.
Lifelong Evangelical Lutheran layman

Whoever, then, thinks that he understands the Holy Scriptures, or any part of them, but puts such an interpretation upon them as does not tend to build up this twofold love of God and our neighbour, does not yet understand them as he ought.  St. Augustine

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